Science-Based Pharmacy

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31 posts · 60,600 views

Examines pseudoscience and quackery in pharmacies and pharmacy practice

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  • August 1, 2011
  • 09:18 AM

Salt: More confirmation bias for your preferred narrative

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

Judging by the recent press reports, the latest Cochrane review reveals that everything we’ve been told about eating salt, and cardiovascular disease, is wrong: The New York Times: Nostrums: Cutting Salt Has Little Effect on Heart Risk The Daily Mail: Cutting back on salt ‘does not make you healthier’ (despite nanny state warnings) Scientific American: [...]... Read more »

  • July 10, 2011
  • 06:38 PM

Vaccine Confidence: Attitudes and Actions

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

Few groups are more hazardous to public health than the anti-vaccine movement — because there’s a body count affiliated with their actions. When vaccination rates drop, communicable diseases re-emerge, and people suffer. While anti-vaccine sentiment will probably persist as long as vaccines are around, we’re fortunate that vaccination rates, on balance, remain very high. In [...]... Read more »

Kennedy A, Lavail K, Nowak G, Basket M, & Landry S. (2011) Confidence about vaccines in the United States: understanding parents' perceptions. Health affairs (Project Hope), 30(6), 1151-9. PMID: 21653969  

  • June 23, 2011
  • 09:13 PM

Making sense of biomarker research

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

Everything you know may be wrong. Well, not really, but reading the research of John Ioannidis does make you wonder. His work, concentrated on research about research, is popular among those that want to improve the way we deliver medicine. And that’s because he’s focused on improving the way evidence is brought to bear on [...]... Read more »

  • June 9, 2011
  • 07:49 PM

Placebos as Medicine: The Ethics of Homeopathy

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

Is it ever ethical to provide a placebo treatment? What about when that placebo is homeopathy? Last month at Science-Based Medicine I blogged about the frequency of placebo prescribing by physicians. I admitted my personal discomfort, stating I’d refuse to dispense any prescription that would require me to deceive the patient. The discussion continued in [...]... Read more »

  • May 14, 2011
  • 03:20 PM

Counting the Placebo Prescriptions

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

How frequently are placebos prescribed and dispensed? I blogged earlier this week about Tom Blackwell’s recent article in the National Post on the prevalence of placebo prescriptions. The authors of the paper Blackwell summarized suggest that one in five physicians actively use placebos. Even if they’re being used sporadically, that’s a lot more use than [...]... Read more »

  • April 28, 2011
  • 11:00 PM

Do Calcium Supplements Cause Heart Attacks?

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

Calcium is good for us, right? Milk products are great sources of calcium, and we’re told to emphasize milk products in our diets. Don’t (or can’t) eat enough dairy? Calcium supplements are very popular, especially among women seeking to minimize their risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis prevention and treatment guidelines recommend calcium and vitamin D as [...]... Read more »

  • March 3, 2011
  • 09:00 AM

Topical NSAIDs

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

I have a mental basket of drugs that I suspect may be placebos. In that basket were the topical versions of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). When the first products were commercially marketed over a decade ago, I found the clinical evidence unconvincing, and I suspected that the modestly positive effects were probably due to simply [...]... Read more »

Haroutiunian, S., Drennan, D., & Lipman, A. (2010) Topical NSAID Therapy for Musculoskeletal Pain. Pain Medicine, 11(4), 535-549. DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2010.00809.x  

Trelle S, Reichenbach S, Wandel S, Hildebrand P, Tschannen B, Villiger PM, Egger M, & Jüni P. (2011) Cardiovascular safety of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: network meta-analysis. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 21224324  

  • February 17, 2011
  • 10:00 AM

Are you sure you’re allergic to penicillin?

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

As a pharmacist, when I dispense medication, it’s my responsibility to ensure that the medication is safe and appropriate for the patient. There are numerous checks we go through including verifying the dose, ensuring there are no interactions with other drugs, and verifying the patient has no history of allergy to the product prescribed. Asking [...]... Read more »

Caubet JC, Kaiser L, Lemaître B, Fellay B, Gervaix A, & Eigenmann PA. (2011) The role of penicillin in benign skin rashes in childhood: a prospective study based on drug rechallenge. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 127(1), 218-22. PMID: 21035175  

  • February 1, 2011
  • 12:59 AM

Celebrating Two Years of SBP

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

Science-Based Pharmacy hits its second birthday today.  Two years ago it started with this post on homeopathy, which I recognized as the most ludicrous “health” product I’d ever seen sold in a pharmacy, and one I felt seriously compromised the credibility of the pharmacy profession.  That assessment still stands. After two years, homeopathy remains as [...]... Read more »

Clauson KA, Ekins J, & Goncz CE. (2010) Use of blogs by pharmacists. American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 67(23), 2043-8. PMID: 21098377  

  • January 20, 2011
  • 09:00 AM

The risks of CAM: How much do we know?

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

Working in pharmacies where supplements are sold alongside traditional (over-the-counter) medications, I’m regularly astonished at the different perceptions consumers can have about the relative efficacy and safety of different types of products. Once, speaking with a customer about a medical condition she wanted to treat, I indicated that there were no effective non-prescription therapies — [...]... Read more »

  • January 6, 2011
  • 09:00 AM

Energy Drinks

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

My stimulant of choice is coffee. I started drinking it in first-year university, and never looked back. A tiny four-cup coffee maker became my reliable companion right through graduate school. But since I stopped needing to drink a pot at a time, an entirely new category of products has appeared — the energy drink. Targeting [...]... Read more »

  • December 28, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Echinacea for Colds and the Flu

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

Colds and the flu (influenza) are among the most frequent and universal illnesses we all experience. Yet we don’t have any truly effective treatments for them. Sure, there are plenty of products available to treat the symptoms. And there are vaccines and some prescription treatments for influenza, which have modest effects.  But it would be nice if there was something that reliably [...]... Read more »

Barrett B, Brown R, Rakel D, Mundt M, Bone K, Barlow S, & Ewers T. (2010) Echinacea for treating the common cold: a randomized trial. Annals of internal medicine, 153(12), 769-77. PMID: 21173411  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

Vaccines are a pain: What to do about it

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

As much as I support vaccines, I see the short term consequences. Vaccines can be painful. Kids don’t like them, and parents don’t like seeing their children suffer. That this transient pain is the most common consequence of gaining protection from fatal illnesses seems like a fair trade-off to me. But that’s not the case [...]... Read more »

Taddio A, Appleton M, Bortolussi R, Chambers C, Dubey V, Halperin S, Hanrahan A, Ipp M, Lockett D, Macdonald N.... (2010) Reducing the pain of childhood vaccination: an evidence-based clinical practice guideline (summary). CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal , 182(18), 1989-95. PMID: 21098067  

  • December 9, 2010
  • 08:30 AM

Good Idea, Bad Execution: Dosing Errors, A Preventable Harm

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

Crossposted at Science-Based Medicine, today’s post expands on a prior SBP post. Our desire to practice in a science-based way can face many hurdles, and can even be thwarted at the last possible moment – in the form of dosing errors. The workup may have been comprehensive, the diagnosis could be correct, the most clinically [...]... Read more »

Yin HS, Mendelsohn AL, Wolf MS, Parker RM, Fierman A, van Schaick L, Bazan IS, Kline MD, & Dreyer BP. (2010) Parents' medication administration errors: role of dosing instruments and health literacy. Archives of pediatrics , 164(2), 181-6. PMID: 20124148  

  • September 20, 2010
  • 10:00 AM

Neuragen for Nerve Pain

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

Today’s post is from SBP contributor Avicenna. Here’s his bio and his prior posts. An estimated 2 to 3% of the developed world  -  roughly 1 million Canadians and 10 million Americans  -  suffer from a debilitating form of chronic pain, called neuropathic pain (NP) or neuralgia.(1,2) What’s worse is that these numbers are expected [...]... Read more »

  • August 9, 2010
  • 09:00 AM

The (Lice) Drugs Don’t Work … Or Do They?

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, summer is drawing to an end and that means back to school – and the annual wave of panic about head lice. It seems that cramming hundreds of children together in one building leads to lice outbreaks, panicky teachers, and distraught parents. Right on schedule, in last [...]... Read more »

Frankowski, B., & Bocchini, J. (2010) Head Lice. PEDIATRICS, 126(2), 392-403. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2010-1308  

  • July 8, 2010
  • 10:40 PM

Sunscreen in a Pill?

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

I’ve previously described the consequences of acute and chronic sun exposure, and the rationale for topical sunscreen products. But wouldn’t it be easier to just take a pill that can boost our skin’s resistance to to the harmful effects of the sun? Is it possible to get all the benefits of sunscreen without the bother [...]... Read more »

Middelkamp-Hup MA, Pathak MA, Parrado C, Goukassian D, Rius-Díaz F, Mihm MC, Fitzpatrick TB, & González S. (2004) Oral Polypodium leucotomos extract decreases ultraviolet-induced damage of human skin. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 51(6), 910-8. PMID: 15583582  

Middelkamp-Hup MA, Pathak MA, Parrado C, Garcia-Caballero T, Rius-Díaz F, Fitzpatrick TB, & González S. (2004) Orally administered Polypodium leucotomos extract decreases psoralen-UVA-induced phototoxicity, pigmentation, and damage of human skin. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 50(1), 41-9. PMID: 14699363  

  • June 21, 2010
  • 09:15 AM

The Science of Dosing Errors

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

With the warnings this week in Canada and the United States about the risks of dosing errors with vitamin D drops, I thought it was an appropriate time to discuss dose measurement as barrier to science-based care.  Dosing errors are the among the most common and most preventable causes of adverse drug events in children.  [...]... Read more »

Yin HS, Mendelsohn AL, Wolf MS, Parker RM, Fierman A, van Schaick L, Bazan IS, Kline MD, & Dreyer BP. (2010) Parents' medication administration errors: role of dosing instruments and health literacy. Archives of pediatrics , 164(2), 181-6. PMID: 20124148  

  • April 8, 2010
  • 10:10 PM

Chili Burn: Can Green Tea and Chili Pepper Burn Fat?

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

Diet products are common in most pharmacies. Consumer demand is one factor, with obesity proliferating to the point where the majority of Canadian adults are now overweight or obese. Compounded with the reality that there are no easy solutions when it comes to weight loss, the weight loss industry is working overtime developing new products. [...]... Read more »

  • March 22, 2010
  • 09:30 AM

Responding to Anti-vaccine Misinformation: Understanding the Issues

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

Pharmacists pride themselves as being the most accessible health professionals. In community pharmacy settings, pharmacists speak with hundred of patients per day, and are available (free, and without an appointment) for quick consultations. Building good relationships is a rewarding part of being a pharmacist, and the level of trust that can develop supports open dialogue [...]... Read more »

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